II Something Issue # 23

II Something Magazine

Issue # 23
a weekly journal devoted to the Apple II family of computers
Sunday, March 31, 1996 – issue 23 – II.Smthg.960331


  • About…
  • Editor’s Greeting
  • Webfind of the Week – The Nando Times
  • The Wire Service – Virtual Flowers
  • The Wire Service – The Fidelity Advisor Contest
  • The Wire Service – Infoseek Stock Picking Contest
  • The Wire Service – Stuff That Worked
  • The Wire Service – Stuff That Wouldn’t Work
  • Updata – Internet Email Subscriptions to II Something
  • Wish List – HTML Authoring Software
  • Coming…



As you know, Apple Computer, Inc. owns all of the Apple II computer copyrights and trademarks, including their names.

II Something is offered as freeware – copyright by Clark Hugh Stiles. Intact distribution of the entire file is acceptable using online services, including BBSes, or via user group DOMs provided there are no commercial sales. Individual articles may be reprinted in user group publications only, provided the following paragraph (except for the opening and closing quotes) is included at the beginning or end of the reprint:

“This article originally appeared in II Something, a weekly journal devoted to the Apple II family of computers, copyright by Clark Hugh Stiles. It has been reprinted by permission. All trademarked names and phrases mentioned belong to their respective owners. Send email to CHStiles@Delphi.Com or C.Stiles3@Genie.Com via the Internet, or newsletters, disks, products for review, gifts, or bribes to Clark Hugh Stiles, Box 46, Comstock Park, MI 49321-0046.”

Editor’s Greeting

We’re almost to April 1996 and I’m still using my Apple IIGS. No foolin’. I’ve been so far behind on II Something, however, that I’m wondering whether I’ll make it to the six month mark. I’ve got limited time to work on this, and have been playing catch up since February. Daylight Losing Time begins soon. Spring is supposed to be here any time, although it is difficult to imagine. I’m gratified by the interest in II Something, and plan to continue, but the weekly schedule may have to be modified. The Caltech FTP site (the new one) has been so busy that I haven’t managed to get online with it, and that has to be a good thing as well.

I’d still like to have a home page. Homepages can be meddled with on a daily basis and the modification date displayed along with the greeting to those entering. Apple II sites may not be among “the top 5% on the Internet” based on the number of accesses, but it is surprising how many Apple II users use the Internet and WWW, considering we are beholden to the companies who provide access via Lynx. II Something would then be more than a weekly but less than a daily, and all the articles would grow in size, leaving the older material online (except things that require correction).

Steve Cavanaugh began his excellent The Apple Blossom as a home page on AOL, but AOL hasn’t allowed Apple II access in a couple of years, so for me to take that route would necessitate purchase of a non-Apple II machine. For one thing, I’m not going to do that because the cash involved would be better spent (in my view) on new hardware and software for my GS. Period. For that matter, I could spend half as much on that and save the other half (or buy pizza for my writing sessions – my cholesterol has fallen to a healthy 170, and frankly I’m worried about it).

The “net boy” style Internet machines (at least two should be available soon) are possible options. I’d prefer to have access to some sort of file storage, such as a floppy, so that I could grab stuff for the Apple II and move on sneaker net. The other method that could work is a serial link from the “net boy” to the “Woz”. If these $500 WWW platforms do have some sort of minor storage option, I’d much rather have one of them, and hopefully a web link via the cable tv coax.

I’ve been wondering how great an impact these “net boy” systems will have, and the conclusion I’ve reached is that they’ll be manufactured by dozens of companies before this year’s Christmas shopping season. Those same companies will also drop their MS-clone lines, so there will be a decline in prices in clone boxes by then as they eliminate inventories. The only thing that home computers do today that has that “must do” air is Internet access. Keeping a checkbook, a recipe file, an address book, or playing games is no reason to fork over $2000. We already know how to do all these things in other ways.

The Internet, on the other hand, offers more than theoretical “tv on demand” because it has over a million “channels”, allows two way interaction, and permits the transmission of information that tv doesn’t (except maybe Howard Stern’s pay-per-view specials). Web surfing is unique and will become easier to get. As the television broadcast industry struggles ten more years to hammer out standards to increase their bandwidth, the Web is already getting there. The phone companies are upgrading and the protocols used to achieve greater throughput are arrived at with relatively little wrangling and furthermore with a wider compliance beyond US borders.

Of course, I still believe that the content on the Internet is over 99% crap (analogous to subway graffiti), and the traffic is mostly in the crap that is available, but where is there an advantage for the content of tv? And as far as “tv on demand” goes, we have had that for some time now – it’s called “the video store”.

Webfind of the Week – The Nando Times


This is a nice little news center. There was extensive coverage of the Unabomber bust, and there was also a curious little tidbit – a link to a story that was just an invalid link of sorts. The link led somewhere, but the title (when I checked by typing INFO) was “Invalid Page Reference” or something like that. Quite amusing.

Next week I’ll try to do better and find an Apple II site.

The Wire Service – Virtual Flowers


Supposedly you can surf here (located in Sarnia, Ontario) and order virtual flowers sent to any email address for no charge. It’s too late for Easter, but it’s always the right time to send flowers, and this is cheaper than real ones (plus those real ones dry up and die).

The Wire Service – The Fidelity Advisor

http://www.fidelityadvisor.com/ Money: Fidelity Advisor

I’m considered to be part of the baby boom. Luckily I was too young for Vietnam and too old to be required to register for the draft when the bungler Jimmy Carter got that passed. Like most boomers I’m NOT making five times my age in income, but sure would like to be. I figure that my two chances at a bigger income are socking away a large fraction in my 401K and 457K plans and living long enough to collect, or to win a big jackpot.

Smart Money, a Dow Jones publication, is a boomer oriented investment magazine, and they’re having a contest to give away $5000 worth of shares in the Fidelity mutual fund of the winner’s choice. Not too bad, depending on the fund. The rules and entry instructions are quoted below:


  1. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. To enter, complete and submit the $5,000 “Winner Take All” Sweepstakes Easy Entry Pass or, on a 3″x5″ plain piece of paper, hand print your name, address, city, state and zip code. Mail your entry to Fidelity Adviser “Winner Take All” Sweepstakes, MFGIA, PO Box 387, Williamstown, MA 01267. Limit one entry per household. ALL ENTRIES MUST BE RECEIVED BY September 30, 1996. Not responsible for lost, late, misdirected, damaged, illegible, or postage due mail.
  2. Sweepstakes is open to citizens of the U.S., aged 21 or older. Employees of MFGIA, its affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and production agencies, The Sweepstake Center, and their immediate families are not eligible. All federal, state, and local laws and regulations apply. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Odds of winning are dependent upon the total number of entries received.
  3. Estimated maximum retail value of prize: 1 Grand Prize: MFGIA will purchase, in the winner’s behalf, the winner’s choice of a Fidelity fund in the amount of $5,000. Prize is guaranteed to be awarded.
  4. Winner will be selected on or about October 1, 1996 in a random drawing conducted under the supervision of The Sweepstakes Center, an independent judging agency whose decisions are final. Winner will be notified by mail and will be required to complete an affidavit of Eligibility/Release of Liability which must be returned within 14 days of the date on the notification letter or an alternate winner will be selected. Any prize notification letter or any prize returned as undeliverable will be awarded to an alternate winner. No substitution for prize except as may be necessary due to unavailability, in which case a prize of equal or greater value will be awarded. Prize is not transferable or redeemable for cash. Prize will be awarded within approximately 90 days of the drawing. All taxes and sales loads are the winner’s responsibility. Prize acceptance constitutes permission (except where prohibited) to use the winner’s name and likeness for publicity purposes without additional compensation.
  5. For a list of prize winners, send a stamped, self-addressed envelope before September 30, 1996 to Fidelity Adviser “Winner Take All” Sweepstakes Winners List, MFGIA, PO Box 387, Williamstown, MA 01267.

The Wire Service – Infoseek Stock Picking Contest


Infoseek 2 is supposed to be more financially oriented than Infoseek or any other index service for the Internet. There was a link for a text based browser to use, but of course it didn’t lead to any such thing. This is a frustrating setback that is all too common on the Internet.

Infoseek 2 is having a contest with a jackpot of $25000, but it also gives away things like printers and modems on a weekly basis. There is an online poll that (of course) I couldn’t use, but was amazed to see question seven:

  1. What on-line information services do you use? America Online
    Dow Jones
    Microsoft Network
    Internet Access Provider

Here are the rules and entry information:

The Infoseek $25,000.00 Jackpot

You must be a resident of one of 48 states of the United States or a resident of Canada. (Residents of New York, Florida, Puerto Rico and Quebec are excluded.) We wanted to be worldwide, but the lawyers pointed out that we can’t deal with the different laws of every state, province and country.

So how do I enter?

Just fill out the form. We’re not trying to be snoopy, but for legal reasons we can’t award prizes without your name and address. Winners will be announced on the Prizes & Winners page. No purchase necessary. Winning $25,000 has never been so easy or so painless. If you don’t want to enter electronically, just send a postcard with your name and address through snail mail to Infoseek Sweepstakes, P.O. Box 9124, Medford, NY, 11763-9124.

How often can I enter?

Every day of the week if you want, but only once a day. If you try to enter more than once a day we’ll notice, and delete all your entries for that day.

How do I enter more than once?

We won’t make you go through the whole registration process every day of the week, so next time, you can give us your e-mail address and we’ll throw your name into the hat one more time. If you use snail mail, you can send a postcard every day with your name and address to Infoseek Sweepstakes, P.O. Box 9124, Medford, NY, 11763-9124.

How old do I have to be?

You can be one day old to 150. The Internet doesn’t discriminate. No drinking age, no driving age, no retirement age. So go for it!

The Wire Service – Stuff That Worked

I spent an evening exploring the various websites mentioned in Smart Money. Apart from the two contests mentioned above, I followed the web to a number of brokerage houses, mutual fund companies, and independent sources of business news. Some worked, some didn’t. Some would connect but had squat once I got in. My favorites are listed first in the following list. My preference for the two sites related to the Fidelity funds is due to my having eight fund options available in my 401K.

According to the tax code, 401K plans must offer a decent variety of options, not just GICs (Guaranteed Investment Contracts). Assuming your 401K money is invested at all (some companies use it for other purposes until they’re caught), even just making deposits to your 401K account (particularly in plans with an employer match) earns the equivalent of at least 20% interest the first year due to the tax savings. Owning a home (and paying down the loan earlier) and a 401K are the two most important investments I’ve got, and that’s true of almost anyone from the herd. The closer to retirement I get the less exposure I should have in the stock market, but I’m not even close. It sure would be nice to retire at 45. Or 40.

Fidelity Advisor – independent of Fidelity itself, apparently.
Fidelity Funds – official site for the mutual funds and brokerage services.
Silicon Investor – good for information on technology companies
Financial Spiders – interesting.
Hoover’s Data – also interesting.
PAWWS quotes
PC Quote
Gabelli Funds
Guinness Funds
Invesco Funds
Janus Funds
Kaufmann Fund – there’s an article about these folks in Smart Money.
Montgomery Funds
Nicholas Applegate Funds
Quick & Reilly
20th Cent Funds
Vanguard Funds
Lombard Brokers – its “public access area” requires registration.

The Wire Service – Stuff That Wouldn’t Work

The aforementioned Smart Money had a number of listings for websites. These were brokerages, mutual fund families, and other commercial sites. Some were not necessarily public and referred to AOL keywords. Figuring that it was worth a try, I set up an entry in the Favorites.Sav file for Delphi’s Lynx (Personal Favorites) and did so. They did not work. Although it didn’t occur to me at the time, I’m wondering if AOL and/or Delphi are blocking access, in which case The Apple Blossom may not be available to me. I’ll keep you apprised.

After trying the AOL sites, I’ve changed “www.” to “users.” but have not yet attempted the connection. Oddly enough, one of the sites was for Smart Money itself. The Wall Street Journal site (also owned by Dow Jones) was available, but none of the links work unless you’ve got an account or subscription.

A site called Arp’s Peculiar Galaxies (found in recent weeks on one of the astronomy sites or possibly on Yahoo) would also not connect. I was just curious, I’m not an amateur astronomer, but would like to access this.


Updata – Internet Email Subscriptions to II Something

This week’s issue went out at exactly the right time to everyone on the newly expanded list. Last week’s went out twice – once to the old list and again (a week late) to the GRApple members I’d added.

It’s not too late to be added. I’ll accept Internet subscribers until I let you know otherwise. The only reason I’ll ever have to stop is if I end up kicked off Delphi and Genie.

Wish List – HTML Authoring Software

Genie’s A2Pro has a new A2 University series on HTML programming. HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language (I think) and it is the most common basis for the neat effects achieved over the world wide web. The first six files (you must realize that some of these files may have originated since the 3-31 cover date of this issue due to my having to write it after the fact) are 4950, 4951, 4981, 4987, 4996, and 5001. I was pleasantly surprised by the number of new files available over in A2Pro, and downloaded every last one of them.

Anyway, other than the HyperCard GS stack that originated (I believe) in Canada, there are no HTML editors of which I’m aware. That type of product is something that would be very worthwhile, and while I can’t see myself spending the $500 asked for some of the HTML editing software on other platforms, $50 seems reasonable. One obvious thing to make this more desirable would be a domain manager package, something that could satisfy the hardware and software requirements of ISDN, but that’s another wish…


Lots more. KOTOL, the Spectrum Host project, is really, really going to be in II Something, just keep checking the download description. Ewen Wannop, author of Spectrum, sent me some very helpful email, and that may be excerpted in the next issue.

Doing this every week makes me appreciate even more the efforts of all the Apple II publishers and writers, some of whom are still out there writing. In the near future I’ll have an article here in II Something regarding various Apple II publications.


II Infinitum

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About the Author

Clark Hugh Stiles

Welcome to II Something. It’s October 1995 and I’m still using an Apple IIgs. What am I missing? The newest machines use CRT screens (preferred, even with laptops except when actually used on the lap), keyboards, mice, and sound to implement an interface with the user. Hard drives are used for primary storage and boot volumes, while CD-ROMs are used to hold larger data files, and floppy and tape drives are used for current data and backup for the hard drives. Modems are used for communication with mainframes. These features have not changed in years; most of them have not changed in decade.